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New funding encourages entrepreneurial spirit

11 November 2003 Media Statement

New funding encourages entrepreneurial spirit in tertiary education

A $10 million initiative designed to build more entrepreneurship and commercial skills through tertiary education was announced today, by Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

The Knowledge Sharing and Entrepreneurship funding will support a number of pilot projects which help the tertiary education sector to provide greater commercial and entrepreneurial skills to the biotechnology, information and communications technology (ICT) and design industries.

Steve Maharey said the new funding responds to gaps identified by the industry-led taskforces for each of these three sectors that reported to government earlier this year.

“The biotechnology, ICT and design taskforces told us that students’ entrepreneurial skills need improvement. In particular they noted:
- the need to improve management and leadership capability in the areas of technology adoption and commercialisation;
- the development of strategic alliances; and
- the demands of international growth.

“We need to lift the “business-readiness” of our graduates. We are often good at generating technically skilled graduates but they often need greater awareness of the commercial environment.

“While we don’t necessarily believe anyone can “create” or “teach” someone to be an entrepreneur, we can do a lot more to ensure these skills are fostered amongst those working and being trained within our tertiary education system.

“Initiatives could include, for instance, course content covering financing business start-ups, commercialising ideas and innovations. These could be delivered as modules in degrees offered outside of business and management schools, such as in part of engineering or biological science degrees.

“The new funding will also encourage increased use of people from the coalface of the biotechnology, ICT and design industries in teaching and training. This will ensure a greater sharing of knowledge between enterprises and tertiary education organisations.

The Knowledge Sharing and Entrepreneurship initiative complements the Enterprise Training for Emerging Industries funding that was announced last week. $21.55 million of funding over four years will be invested through both these new initiatives to build the connections between the TEOs and the GIF focus areas and to deliver their future skill needs.

The TEC will discuss with tertiary education organisations the best way to make use of the funding. Further information about both initiatives will be announced soon.


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